SOUTHLAND’S top 2020 golfers were recognised and celebrated at the Southland Golfer of the Year presentations in Invercargill last week.
The awards recognised Southland’s top male, female and junior golfers, and reflected the outstanding golfing talent which exists in the far south.
While 2020 saw several disruptions to the golfing calendar, particularly at a national level, there were still many highlights locally.
Matt Tautari was named Southland Men’s Golfer of the Year after winning key events including the Otago and Southland Matchplay Championships and the Central Districts Championships. Tautari also represented Southland at the South Island Interprovincial, which the team won, and was the top player in the Southland team which finished eighth at the New Zealand Interprovincial. He also finished seventh at the South Island Strokeplay Championships.
For the fifth consecutive year, Robyn Boniface was named the Southland Women’s Golfer of the Year. Among the titles she picked up during the year were the Southland 54-hole Strokeplay, the Western District Championships, the Stead Cup and the Wyndham 27-hole tournament. This is the eighth time Boniface has been named the Southland Women’s Golfer of the Year.
George Prendergast has continued his impressive rise through the junior golf ranks, and took out the Junior Golfer of the Year award. In 2020, Prendergast represented Southland’s senior team against Otago, was reserve for the team which won the South Island Interprovincial, won the intermediate section of the Southland Matchplay Championships and won the Southland Junior Strokeplay title.
Kevin Bang was announced as Most Improved Junior, having made huge improvements in his handicap and impressing in local competitions and tournaments.
Golf Southland chairman Phil McDonald said the Golfer of the Year Awards acknowledged the talent of golfers in the south and while 2020 was disruptive, it was pleasing to see golf thrive throughout it all.
“The Golfer of the Year Awards don’t just reflect those who consistently compete to a very high standard, although that is an important part of it, but they also acknowledge those golfers who choose to support local tournaments.”